|Day 18 of 31 at Two Writing Teachers!|
I had already been inspired by Donalyn Miller last year, but at the time, I was teaching middle school Spanish. When I began teaching high school ELLs, I immediately put many of her ideas in practice. More than anything, I wanted my students to become readers, and I knew that traditional teaching methods were not going to do it.
With my signed copy of The Book Whisperer in one hand, I enthusiastically emptied the drab, boring bookshelves of my new classroom and put the books into labeled bins so they'd be more inviting and accessible. Once I saw the selection of tattered, unappealing books that had been left in the classroom, I started buying appealing middle-grade and YA books that my students would actually enjoy. To grow readers, I knew I had to to turn my classroom into a book forest.
|our humble but happy book area!|
That first semester was hard, but I did score a lot of little victories. One by one, my students were discovering delight in reading. However, I wanted more, and I still felt like I was floundering. What was I supposed to talk about with students during our reading conferences? How was I supposed to have time in class for free reading, all those reading conferences, close reading of short texts... AND writing? How should I hold students accountable for reading at home without forcing them to do some sort of parent-signed reading log that they'd just fake anyway?
When I opened Book Love, I found exactly what I needed. Penny Kittle's practical ideas and examples helped me develop my thinking about all of those tough questions. (More on that another day, because this post is already too long!) Moreover, her enthusiasm nudged me to revisit ideas from The Book Whisperer that I just "hadn't had time" to implement. Right after break, I finally created that display of my reading life that I just hadn't gotten around to putting up in the classroom yet: book covers with blog and website logos scattered in their midst.
|my reading life this year, with space for more! :-)|